Mother’s Day is just around the bend, and for me, this particular Mother’s Day is an extra special day because it is also the birthday of my first-born daughter. She is turning 24 this year, and in twenty-four years, I have embraced, absorbed, and enjoyed the honor of being mother to four amazing children I have birthed, one child lost (but not forgotten) to miscarriage, and one incredibly talented step-child I get the privilege to help care for. Becoming a Mom has truly blessed my life.
Motherhood comes to us in many ways, and no matter which means you come about receiving the blessing of a child that you call your own, every stage of your child’s growth reveals a new stage for you, as well. Author Ann Pleshette Murphy defines and guides us through The 7 Stages of Motherhood: Making the Most of Your Life as a Mom. Through warmth, humor, and support, this book urges women to reflect on each stage of their own evolution as their child’s stages change.
From the first days of pregnancy, to the eighteenth year when our babies reach adulthood, Murphy’s book gives us invaluable advice on how to cope and thrive through each memory, moment, and milestone.
Here are a few gems of advice taken in part from The 7 Stages of Motherhood that I have learned to embrace over my two decades of momming.
- Give Yourself Credit. Pat yourself on the back or give yourself a high five. You are probably doing wayyy better than you think. So what if you still have not tackled the mound of dirty laundry on the bathroom floor that has been piling up for days. Make a growth chart for it as your do your kid, laugh about it, and shrug it off. We are hardest on ourselves and most often our toughest critic. Nobody else is paying as much attention as you think they are. Set realistic expectations for yourself, take notice of the things you do accomplish, and carry on. Pause. Breathe. Accept. YOU ARE DOING GREAT.
- Free Yourself from Guilt. This is an important one here. Some of us have the ability to carry around a big bag of mom-guilt. I know. I’ve been there. Guilt over working, over staying home, over having multiple children, or just one, over making the wrong choice, or the right choice, or no choice. Show yourself some compassion and challenge your negative beliefs. It took me many years to accept that I did and am doing the best that I can. YOU ARE TOO.
- Embrace (and learn from) Your Mistakes. If I were still living in the world of guilt, I could recite for you every mistake (big or small) that I have ever made in my parenting career. That list would be very long. But, instead, I choose to see my mistakes, accept that I made them, and use them as guideposts for what not to do in the future. Motherhood is brand-new territory, and like all exploration, it takes a lot of trial and error to map a new trail. Mistakes are common, and failure is a state of mind. LEARN AS YOU GO.
- Nurture Your Mother-self. Just like our children, we are living, breathing, feeling, human beings. We need hugs too. We need to cry it out from time to time. We need naps. We need peaceful moments in serene surroundings. We need play time. And we need love. Giving yourself a time-out, a play-date, permission to be yourself (flaws and all), and permission to keep going will go a long way on your motherhood journey. YOU’VE GOT THIS.
Motherhood is not easy by any means. Nor is it cost-effective. But, it is rewarding. And transforming. At the same time that you are setting out to teach your babes about the world, you are inwardly learning so much more about yourself than you ever thought you would. Every bump, hurdle, and hiccup is a lesson is strength, resilience, and love. Always love.
Treat yourself this Mother’s Day to something that makes you feel good and smile. YOU DESERVE IT! For me, that is usually a new pair of great-fitting jeans, a stylish designer bag, or a pretty floral dress that is bright and cheery. I’m a fashion reseller, so clothes are my life- and my lifeline when I need a reason to celebrate ME. Shopping second-hand from sources like POSHMARK is a great way to score great fashion for a fraction of the price. A perfect fit for moms of all stages who deserve a reward for all of the energy, love, and time we devote to keeping our favorite humans happy, healthy, and whole.
And, if you haven’t already, show your own Mom, or a mother-figure in your life, some love this Mother’s Day. A little bit of appreciation goes a long way and straight to the heart.
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NWT Agolde jeans, Coach Georgie bag, and floral H&M dress all available for purchase through my Poshmark closet, @slippers74. NEW to Poshmark? Use code slippers74 to receive $10 off your first purchase.